One in ten sudden deaths in Guernsey caused by someone taking their own life

ITV Channel's Kate Prout reports...

Suicide rates in Guernsey are 'among some of the highest' in the British Isles, according to the local mental health charity, Talking Benches.

Recent figures from Guernsey Police revealed that 12% of the island's sudden deaths in 2021 were classed as suicide. In 2019 and 2020, the figure was just 7%.

Families who have lost loved ones to suicide say that more discussion surrounding mental health needs to happen at all levels.

Sarah Bamford's son, Mash, took his own life at the age of 42 while living in New Zealand, leaving his wife and children behind. She says:

"Suicide is not talked about. I'm not saying you should talk about this all the time. I think it has to start with education.

"I think schools are doing a lot about mental health but I think in Secondary schools, suicide and taking your own life has to be talked about."

For Mandy Le Bachelet's son, JP, the help he was getting for his depression was not enough. He took his own life 14 years ago, aged 14. She says:

"They feel they have no choice. There's nothing left for them. They are in so much pain and causing us so much pain that there's no way out."

There's five talking benches across Guernsey for people to start conversations regarding their mental health. Credit: ITV Channel Television

Figures show that men are a third more likely to take their lives than women. In the UK, 74% of suicides were male.

After losing her son, Sarah helped to set up 'talking benches.' The aim is that if someone is feeling low and wants to talk to someone, they can use the bench to start that conversation.

There are five talking benches across Guernsey. One in Petit Bot, one in town and three others in schools across the island.

Sarah hopes that these benches will allow more conversations surrounding suicide and mental health to happen.

Get help and support

There are a number of charities operating in the Channel Islands offering support to those who find themselves in need of help.